Bust made in brazen jewelry store robbery

The FBI in Detroit released images of suspects they believed were part of robberies at jewelers in Michigan (May 16, 2014).
The FBI in Detroit released images of suspects they believed were part of robberies at jewelers in Michigan (May 16, 2014).

DETROIT (WOOD) — A Pennsylvania man is facing federal charges in connection with a brazen Rolex robbery at a Plainfield Township jewelry store as well as a similar crime in suburban Detroit.

Surveillance video from Paul Medawar Fine Jewelry on Plainfield Avenue on April 22 showed four people entering the store with their faces partially covered and brandishing guns while they ordered employees to the floor.

A store owner shot one of the suspects in the arm before the four got away with the high-end watches.

Investigators were able to match DNA from blood left at the scene to 42-year-old Nathaniel Pembrook of Philadelphia. Authorities had his DNA on file due to previous felony convictions, police said. The three other suspects are still at large.

Pembrook was indicted Wednesday on five federal crimes connected to the robbery in Plainfield Township and a similar hold-up later that same day at a jewelry store in the Detroit suburb of West Bloomfield where $1.4 million worth of Rolex watches were stolen.

“There are apparently several gangs running around the country targeting just these watches,” Paul Medawar said. “They’re all over. You just have to be ready. And trust in God.”

After Paul Medawar Fine Jewelry was robbed a few years ago, the Medawars took firearms training.

The Rolex gangs come armed, too, because there is a lot of money to be made in a robbery; one of the watches in Medawar’s Rolex case sells for $34,000.

But Medawar told 24 Hour News 8 that won’t stop him from selling the watches.

“We’re going to carry Rolex,” he said. “We’ll carry something else, too, ha ha ha. We will have Rolex.”

Pembrook showed up in a Philadelphia hospital for treatment the day after the robberies, claiming he got shot outside a speakeasy in Philadelphia and took a trolley to the hospital. Detectives couldn’t find that speakeasy, and they think his bullet wound actually came from the incident at the Plainfield Township jewelry store.

He was arrested in Philadelphia in August, according to federal court documents, and is expected to be brought back to Detroit to be arraigned on several federal charges.

If convicted, Pembrook could face up to life in prison.

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